Finalists in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up program - including Cassie Dee, Travis Taddeo, Martin Lim, Triarchy and Unttld - show their collections to compete for the grand prize of a mentorship and a show at March's fashion week. Supermodel Jessica Stam helped judge the competition. (MARK O'NEILL/QMI Agency)
The show: Mercedes Benz Start Up competition
The labels: Unttld, Triarchy, Cassie Dee, Travis Taddeo, Martin Lim
The tagline: Mercedes Benz first annual contest to help new designers on their path, with the grand prize of a show at Toronto's fashion week next season and a mentorship with acclaimed members of the industry.
The winner: Montreal's Martin Lim was named the ultimate winner. Likely the best part of that prize? It was announced by Canada's international supermodel (and one of the judges) Jessica Stam.
The translation of the tagline: Project Runway meets luxury cars.
The groove: It varied by designer, but songs included Sixteen Tons by Hank Thompson (for Triarchy's rock country vibe).
The show stopper: It was actually the show opener, but Unttld's long, white, seemingly conservative maxi dress nipped in beautifully at the waist and opened up seductively in the back.
The trends: Each designer had their own take on this season, so trends abounded. There was colour blocking for Martin Lim's free flowing dresses and skirts, and leather for Unttld's jackets and shorts in their 'contradictions of contrast' collection. Feathers formed their own material in Travis Taddeo's 'lifestyle brand for individuals', while bleached out denim helped create the legwear for Triarchy's 'going from the back of a bike to a party' look. In Cassie Dee's 'Canadiana road trip', piping updated classic blouses.
The favourite piece: Eventual winner Martin Lim's beautiful caftans in contrasting sorbet hues looked gorgeous overtop skin-coloured bodysuits, and would undoubtedly work just as well with leggings and boots.
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